West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
A Very Special Birthday Party
Frodo wants only one thing for his birthday this year -- and he's not doing a particularly good job of concealing what it is.
Author: Briefly Del
Pippin saw it immediately: something at this table was very different from last year. He recognized the shy glances those two were shooting at each other, even if Merry was oblivious: he had seen hobbits flirt more cautiously at Overlithe than now, seated at Frodo Baggins's birthday meal.
The young Took had been watching Frodo hard for more than an hour now, and he was fairly certain of his cousin's motives. Seating the Gamgee next to himself was the least blatant sign: their hands lingering on each other's as they passed dishes around; Frodo and his contest to tie cherry stems in their mouths; the look of pride and interest when Sam came out first.
Merry, of course, couldn't do it: for as dexterous and flexible a lad as he was, he was just a total ninnyhammer at some of the finer things. Pippin had had to show him four times before he was able to achieve a loose knot, which had promptly sprung open the moment he'd fished it out. "Hmph," he remarked, spinning the stem between thumb and forefinger, "I think I prefer raspberries myself. Far less complicated."
"Complicated ain't all that bad all th'time, Mr. Merry, if you'll pardon me for sayin'," Sam cut in. Pippin caught the sideways glance Frodo had made through low-lidded eyes, the way he chewed his lower lip just a little as he studied his hands -- biting back a smile.
"Yeah, but it cuts down on time, doesn't it?" Merry had slung one elbow casually across the back of his chair, and was still fixated on his cherry stem.
Sam shifted in his seat. "But, well... if it's worth taking the time, that makes it all the more worth it, I think. I-I mean, take gardens for example. You've got naught but a bit of earth and some seed when you start in the spring but... if you do th'right things you've made yourself a little paradise, haven't you."
"A fine philosophy, Sam," Frodo murmured, speaking for the first time since his challenge.
The Brandybuck was still unimpressed. "Well, I suppose we're creatures of a different sort, then. I go for the taste rather than all the trouble of getting to it, myself."
"He's not joking," Pippin interjected, his eye still half on Frodo. "Well, when it comes to fruit, anyways. But I think you're cheating yourself, Merry -- you've a right mind for complicated plots, haven't you, and all for one end."
"Well, a good caper is well worth it if it's done right, every now and again," he explained with a crooked, feline grin. "But you do it too often, it loses its flavor. And you run the risk of getting caught."
There -- from Sam this time: a brief flash of his eyes, onto Frodo's face. Pippin's suspicions were confirmed, and he made note of it. It seemed funny, that such an eligible young fellow as Frodo Baggins would take to such paths -- and even queerer than such a salt-of-the-earth character as Samwise Gamgee should accompany him. But, as he told himself, watching the other members of the table, life was funny that way.
* * *
"So how does it feel to be twenty-seven, sir?"
Frodo ran his hand over Sam's jacket, still giddy with the idea of such contact. "Much the same as twenty-six, Sam -- except now I have someone to spend it with."
He had been waiting for this moment for three days. For some weeks, the extent of their affections had been limited to kisses stolen between Sam's breaks in the garden, or the odd hour spent cuddling in Bilbo's absence. The space around both of them had been crackling with the want for something more, and like a fever that left them shaking and sweating every time they came nearer, tonight it was ready to break.
Sam held absolutely still as Frodo reached forward, took a shirt button between thumb and forefinger, and twisted it deftly from its hole. He was fixated on the work of undressing; Sam watched his face: its expression betrayed no small amount of wonder that right now was not a dream. The younger hobbit's breath drifted into the shallows as three... two... one, his best white shirt was draped loose over his shoulders. He blushed at the light in Frodo's eyes as they wandered over his chest and torso, and bent his neck so as to avoid the hungry, adoring look.
The fire flickered, and for a moment Sam's hair, falling softly over his face, flared like burnished copper. With a cartographer's fascination, Frodo brushed aside the locks and drew his fingers lightly over the contours of Sam's cheek. Then, tentatively as early spring, his hand fell lower, over his neck, pausing a moment to trace the line of his collarbone. At his ear, he heard Sam's quiet intake of breath, and a warm flush enveloped him. He felt so weightless, so ethereal, as he finally put his hand atop the gardener's chest, his most direct contact with heartbeat yet--
He furrowed his brow. "Sam," he whispered, concerned. "I... I can't feel you..."
A slow smile languidly flowed across Sam's face. "The reason you can't feel me," he said in a low, amused voice, "is because you're not touching me..." And with that, he wrapped Frodo's hand in his own and pressed it to his left pectoral. The other hobbit gasped sharply, and then, after a long slow exhalation, he began exploring the unmapped lands of Sam's body.
"Mr. Frodo, I'm worried," Sam murmured as he gently lowered Frodo onto the bed.
"About what?" he asked distractedly, raising his hand to caress the strong line of Sam's jaw.
Sam closed his eyes and hovered above him for a second. "Oh me, but don't that feel good enough to chase off anything I was about to say," he sighed, lowering his face into Frodo's palm and planting several light kisses there for him to hold. The hand skimmed over his cheek in the lightest of tender strokes, and its fingers began exploring the locks and tendrils of his hair. Sam moaned a little.
Frodo laughed to himself. "Have I made you remember?" he murmured, nuzzling the base of Sam's neck. "I hope I haven't. I'm in no mood for anything that could be discussed tomorrow..."
"It's... it's Mr. Pippin, sir," Sam answered apologetically. "I was a bit worried, if we might.. give ourselves away in front of him, he being so young and all..."
"We were very good, Sam. And I think Pippin is less tender than you think, if he keeps company with Merry as much as he appears to."
Sam sat up. "Th.. them, Mr. Frodo? But they're cousins!"
His exclamation was met with a patient smile. "No, I don't think it's that... I've known Merry, he doesn't seem the type -- he likes girls, very much so in fact... And anyway, Sam Gamgee, who are we to talk?" he teased, poking him lightly in the stomach.
Sam frowned a little. "I dunno, I just don't want anybody knowin' -- just yet, leastaways -- and such a big fam'ly as theirs least of all, even if they are all the way over in Tuckborough." Frodo was still unconcerned with this, however, and lifted himself upright to suckle beneath Sam's ear.
"Ohh-h-h-h, Frodo!" Sam cried, forgetting himself. He wrapped his arms around his master's waist and found his lips, delving deep and searching for the sweetest taste of all.
They pulled apart, Frodo's eyes so bright they nearly blinded him. "It is a very happy birthday for me, Sam," he whispered. He bent his neck and rested his shaking hands on Sam's chest again.
Sam lined the bridge of his nose up with his own, and kept his eyes on Frodo's shirt. "Anything you want, sir."
"Just you, Sam," Frodo purred, and bore down upon him with such a kiss ...
* * *
Pippin had been unusually silent on the walk back to the Green Dragon, which was probably just as well, as Merry was finishing one of the season's last apples with great relish. He had just tossed away the slight remains of the core when his cousin spoke up.
"Did you notice anything particularly funny back there at that party, Merry?"
The Brandybuck wiped away a trace of juice at the corner of his mouth and commented, "Other than the fact that Frodo's cheesecake was strawberry this late in the year? No, not really." He realized after a few more paces that Pippin's question hadn't been entirely one-ended, and he turned to him with a bit of a start. "Why? Did you?"
Pippin's face was curiously pensive: he was staring straight ahead, not making eye contact with Merry. "I think it's interesting that two hobbits you'd never think would be friends have bonded so quickly. I know some folk who've known each other for years and aren't that attached to each other," he said softly. An unreadable smile hovered about his face. "I think it's nice, that Frodo's got someone to talk to at Bag End now."
If Merry had been looking closer, he might have been met with something surprising in the set of the young Took's mouth. But even if he had, in the half-light of the sunset he couldn't have been quite sure.
~ * ~
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